The challenges and coping strategies of female heads of households: the case of single female parents in Lubaga Division, Kampala District
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Female household headship and single female parenthood is a widely researched phenomenon, globally In the academic discourse, scholars have emphasized the burden of household headship among single female parents. To understand this phenomenon this study investigated the challenges and coping strategies of female heads of household using the case of single female parents in Lubaga division. This study had four objectives the first was to identify the social-economic challenges faced by single female parents. The second was to explore and describe the psychological and emotional challenges that single female parents experience while heading their household. The third was to determine the social support systems that exist in order to assist single female parents who head households and the final was the fourth objective that aimed at ascertaining whether single female parents heading households engaged in income generating activities for their households. The study adopted a qualitative research approach which involved collection of data from primary sources to understand the challenges that single female parents who head households experience and the coping strategies they adopt to deal with such challenges in Lubaga division. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews with twenty single female parent heads of household and key informant interviews with ten local council leaders. The respondents were selected by purpose and sometimes by referrals. The findings of the study were that single female parent who head households had numerous social economic challenges and, psychological and emotional challenges such as social discrimination, social isolation, unemployment, low education attainment, lack of access to credit facilities and basic needs and the burden of high dependency ratio. However they have coping strategies such as engaging in income generating activities like petty trading, hired manual labour and sex work. The social support systems included community networks, church, neighbors, non-governmental organizations and government interventions. This study concludes by making recommendations which are proposed to inform the government and policy makers about the plight of single female parents heading households. This study argued that although the single female parents heading households have shown resistance by surviving amidst all the challenges they experience, the coping strategies are not sustainable and there is need for more policy interventions and initiatives to address the status of these single female parents.